I’ve known lawyers who sometimes make assumptions before reading an entire document or hearing their client’s entire story. In The Trusted Advisor, authors David H. Maister, Charles H Green and Robert M. Galford end their discussion of the art of listening with a story.
In a criminal trial, the defense lawyer is cross examining a pathologist. Here is what happened:
Attorney: Before you signed death certificate had you taken pulse?
Attorney: Did you listen to the heart?
Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Attorney: So, when you signed death certificate, you weren’t really sure the man was dead, were you?
Coroner: Well, let me put it this way. The man’s brain was sitting in a jar on my desk. But, I guess it’s possible he could be out there practicing law somewhere.